When the cops come knocking at the door, that's when it's time to run. Eight men in Lafayette, LA (my home town) learned that the hard way this weekend.
The Lafayette PD raided a bar named Shannon's early Friday morning and arrested the men on a charge of gambling. It's the first such bust in South Louisiana since I got here.
It's a bust that really caught my attention because Texas Hold 'Em has become increasingly popular across Lousiana. Here in Lafayette, I can probably find a handful of bars every night that are offering tournaments of some kind.
The catch is that these bars weren't taking a cut of the money, nor were they providing dealers or materials. The bars, themselves, stayed out of it, allowing the players to bring their own materials and shuffle up and deal.
Apparently, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control feels as though the increased business alone from the additional patrons drawn by poker makes each game a gambling enterprise.
The commissioner of the ATC sent a release saying cease and desist orders would go out to bars starting on November 1st (that's today). Of course, these LPD cops busted into the bar on October 29th, days before any orders went out.
In the cops mind, this crossed the lines because the dealers (who weren't playing) were making a profit. When someone won a pot, they tipped the dealer. And really, the cops were right. If a dealer is brought in and receives any kind of compensation, the enterprise suddenly becomes illegal.
Through some investigation of my own, I've uncovered some good news. These eight guys likely won't suffer any consequences. A highly placed source tells me these charges won't go anywhere. Apparently the cops were just a little overzealous.
Bottom line, I suppose this means I'll be staying out of bars and sticking to the legal poker in casinos and the likely illegal online poker. Any kind of arrest on my record could hasten my move to poker professional... and that's not a good thing.